Tuesday, March 25, 2008

White Easter

This Easter will certainly stick in the memory. I got up at 5.30am on Easter Sunday morning to drive to the Sunrise Service in the middle of a raging blizzard. At 8am my son was out in the garden building a snowman. It was the first White Easter I can remember in my lifetime and not something I really expect to see again.

But although it was memorable in its own way, there will no doubt be plenty of debate in workplaces up and down the land this morning as to whether we really want a four-day Bank Holiday weekend this early in the year. The wintry weather was not exactly conducive either to family days out, gardening or DIY (although I did manage to get a new basement window installed in between snow and rain breaks.)

Some will no doubt advocate decoupling the holiday from the Christian festivals, as the schools have already done. But for me the logical answer would be for the churches to take the initiative and fix Easter on the first Sunday in April - rather than the current formula which puts it on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (March 20 or 21).

As well as reducing the likelihood of wintry weather, this would mean Easter would always fall within the school holidays. Furthermore because Whitsun (Pentecost) falls seven weeks after Easter, it would mean Whitsunday would always fall on the fourth Sunday in May, thus restoring the lost link between the Christian festival of Whitsun and the Spring Bank Holiday.

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The Half-Blood Welshman said...

Seems a sensible idea to me - especially as there are about three different Easter dates out there anyway (Western tradition, Eastern Orthodox, Chaldean are the ones I can think of off-hand). If there was a move to bring that in, as a practicing Christian, I'd back it.

James Higham said...

I'm so jealous - we missed out on Easter snow here.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why the Nicaean council decided on this complex formula for determining the date of Easter? Was it, as some bloggers on other sites have claimed, to link Easter to the Vernal Equinox festival celebrated by pagans?

I'm genuinely interested, if someone can give an authoritative, and not too complex, answer.